At a recent meeting, Jamestown High School’s Garden Club heard from Hospice Chautauqua County who are looking for volunteers to help take care of its Abe Mattison Community Garden.
“We are looking for volunteers to help maintain and weed the garden,” said Dave Switala, co-chair of the garden project. “I am so pleased that your club is interested in helping out its community, and our garden in particular. People come to the garden who are in turmoil, or who just want to remember a loved one. It is a peaceful place and it helps to have young people like you to help create and nurture a compassionate garden.”
The JHS Garden Club, or the “Gardeners of Weedin’,” meets once a week after school. The group will travel to Hospice’s Memory Garden to help out in future weeks.
“I think it’s really wonderful that we are helping out the Hospice Garden,” said JHS 9th grader Dominic Santiago. “It makes you feel better when you help someone else out in your community. I was interested in joining the club because it is an activity that I can gain skills. I want to go to college and run an agricultural business and this club is a step towards that goal.”
In the spring of 2012, JHS established raised bed vegetable gardens in an area behind the school in the spring of 2012 after receiving a grant from Creating Healthy Places to Live work and Play. The JHS Garden Committee composed of staff members and the students of Vicky Leroy’s inclusion class participated in garden maintenance. All of the vegetables and herbs harvested from this garden were donated to St. Susan’s Center.
This school year, JHS students were invited to participate in the Garden Club, with advisors LeAnn Love and Cheryl Jones, during the annual activity fair extra-curricular showcase. The Club has grown herbs for cooking in window boxes for distribution to Saint Susan’s soup kitchen, planted spring bulbs in the raised beds that were donated to people who are home bound.
One Club program, “Flowers for Friends,” reminds students to give back to the elderly. The Garden Club planted tulip and daffodil bulbs during the fall of this year. In the spring, the flowers will be delivered to the elderly in nearby nursing homes. They will expand the “Flowers for Friends” effort by planting a wider variety of spring bulbs. The Club also planted seeds for this year’s vegetable garden and currently have seedlings for about 10 vegetables that will be ready for planting when the spring flowers come out. The JHS Garden Club also plans to participate in Hands-on Jamestown focusing on JHS’ property.
“The goal with the club is to assist in the Creating Healthy Places initiative to inform our students of ways to live and participate in a healthy life style,” said Mrs. Love and Mrs. Jones. “We also want to stress the importance of giving back to your community and participating in community service project. We hope to develop a sense of school and community pride as out students see their accomplishments grow.
In order for students at JHS to participate in any JHS extra-curricular activities, they need to maintain their grades and are encouraged in all aspects of their education.
Members of the JHS Garden Club are: Traya Allen, Robyn Miller, Kane Skinner, Deiron Rios, Andrew Rios, Dominic Santiago, Jordan Allen, Dawson Jones, Michael O’Brien and Brandon Holland.